29/05/2012

SOME BLOGGING AT LAST: CONCUPISCENCE & LITERARY VENTRILOQUISM

I've had some spare time to catch up with and read some interesting blogs and articles today. Well, better to say I've neglected some duties and chores (I was really fed-up of correcting and assessing tests and questionnaires, I've been doing that for days!)  and I've spent some time reading good stuff online this afternoon. I'd like to share with you the best posts I've found.
You may think I'm biased since I know the two talented lady writers, authors of the two brilliant pieces but I'm not. So, if you don't trust the objectivity of my words, just click on the links and check yourself!

Prue Batten, Australian author of wonderful tales like A Thousand Glass Flowers and Gisborne Book of Pawns is presently working on Gisborne Book of Knights  and posted an involving reflection about writing credible  loving scenes in historical fiction.
In her post at Mesmered's Blog, Concupiscence or lack of...  she reflects on how to make a love scene credible and where to put the boundary between saying and not saying. She prefers ...to titillate the reader’s imagination than have undiluted erotica pouring across the page" and this is something I experienced as a reader of her work and highly appreciated. 
In fact, I’m an eager reader of her beautiful tales just because of her style. We’ve discussed this topic before and she knows what I think: I agree with and definitely appreciate her point of view as a writer. However, from my point of view,  that is that of  an ordinary reader,  I can assure you that even only hinting at erotica her  love scenes are highly erotic, if you know what I mean. They are poetic, vibrant and skillfully involve a reader’s five senses becoming highly emotional. I can also assure you that that is enough to make my heart beat faster and my blood pressure go up. Here's  an example of her talent at creating tension between two lovers. These are Ysabel and Guy  from Gisborne Book of Pawns:

He eased me away from his chest. He was infinitely gentle, lifting my face so that I had to look at him, his hands either side of my jaw. The pain I felt as my ruined life rattled around me like a thunderstorm was stupendous, but he was there… as he had been every step of the way, and once again, I let him take the pain away. I lifted my right hand to his and covered it as it lay on my jaw. 

There are times in life when one just wants to forget about concerns and cares. To ignore the shouted whisper of caution in the ear…

I tilted my head, closing my eyes. I want to feel every sensation and the intensity sharpened without sight. I said nothing because I was afraid sound would shatter the moment, would make him think twice about what he did. I tried not to think at all.

His lips moved to my neck and I lifted my shoulder as the delicate touch stirred me. His stubble rubbed at my skin and it should have been uncomfortable but it was a sublime touch – rough and smooth. His hands slid to my shoulders and then down to my arms and I felt the pressure of his fingers as he pulled me harder against him. I turned my head and kissed his chin… only lightly as I was afraid of being too forward . 
Well this scene goes on for a while as elegantly as it started and ends like this:
They say the lovers’ knot has an unbroken shape in Ireland, that it simply winds in and out, over and under in perpetuity, and that is forever how I remember the intertwining shape of this night of nights as Guy of Gisborne and I, Ysabel of Moncrieff, made love 
In today's post Prue quotes from other historical fiction authors and asks readers to compare three sex scenes from other books with one of her own from Gisborne (an excerpt between the two I quoted above). 

Prue's question ultimately is : how explicit does a sex scene have to be to sound realistic? And my answer is: Please, Prue, go on your way: elegant, tactful and highly emotional and thanks for making us part of your incredible journey towards/through the creation of your fascinating worlds and characters. What is instead yours? Go to Mesmered's Blog enjoy Prue's post and join the discussion.





Lynn Shepherd, is the British author of two very good books, inspired to classics. I loved reading and reviewing them both. In the article I've read today, she analyses her attempts at mimicing Jane Austen's voice in her highly successful debut novel, Murder at Mansfield Park. Her piece at The Spectator.co.uk , titled The Art of Literary Ventriloquism, tells about how meticulously she worked on each word she used in the novel trying to give authenticity to her Austen voice. She remembers:
I was writing Murder at Mansfield Park when the film of The Duchess came out, and I remember hearing it reviewed on Radio 4. The critic admired the gorgeous settings and costumes, but was rather less enthusiastic about the script – especially the scene in which Georgiana offers to make a ‘deal’ with her husband, when the word she would actually have used at that time was ‘bargain’.It was a useful reminder of something I already knew: that even relatively small mistakes can lethally undermine the authenticity of your prose. My mission, which I chose to accept, was not to commit any such fatal faux pas myself.In practice that meant downloading all Austen’s novels, and checking pretty much every word as I went along. And it wasn’t just whether a term was in use then, but how it was used.



In her second novel, Tom-All-Alone's (or The Solitary House in the US) she brought back to life some of Dickens's characters from Bleak House, but this time she tried to free herself from the tight ties with the original voice:
Though the only ventriloquism I needed here related to the characters I included from Bleak House, since I’d decided early on that any attempt to ‘write like Dickens’ in the main narrative of the novel was doomed not just to pastiche, but to downright parody.
What do you think of fanfiction attempting to mimic great novelists' voices? Not all the attempts have outcomes as brilliant as Lynn Shepherd's two mystery novels, of course. Have you read any successful achievement?

I loved sharing these posts with you. Let me know what you think ...and let Prue and Lynn know, too! 

5 comments:

Prue Batten said...

MG, thank you so much for taking the time to read my post on that hardest of things, writing sensual sex in a novel.

more than anything though, can i say how thrilling it was for me to be in the company of someone of Lynn's stature and popularity. I admire her writing and have her books on my shelves, so it's a very special moment.

Very best wishes.

Prue Batten said...

MG, thank you so much for taking the time to read my post on that hardest of things, writing sensual sex in a novel.

more than anything though, can i say how thrilling it was for me to be in the company of someone of Lynn's stature and popularity. I admire her writing and have her books on my shelves, so it's a very special moment.

Very best wishes.

Patrice Fitzgerald said...

Thanks for sharing thoughts about both of these wonderful authors! I got a bit hot and bothered reading Prue's scene... oh my! And not a naughty word to be read.

andyszpuk said...

Mimicing s style is a classic learning strategy, and if the end result is a work that is acclaimed in its own right, then it verifies that approach. I found the account of the meticulous nature of the research fascinating.

Vava, A country dreaming mum said...

Lovely post, and very interesting issues to discuss. I'll make sure I read the books of both this talented ladies, because they sound really my cup of tea. I just had to combine Prue Batten's excerpt with the image of Richard Armitage acting the scene to have me tingling all over, I think that's a very good sign :-) Silvana